Health care workers rally at Capitol for “hero pay”

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Dozens of health care workers stood in front of the Capitol steps chanting “Hey hey hey, okay we need our hero pay” this morning, demanding lawmakers for hero day.

Employees were changing Nurses and hospital staff say they’ve been overworked and underpaid for more than a year. Now they are exhausted and fed up, they want lawmakers to do something about it.

“Short staffed, not enough of PPE. We don’t play, we work, and when we come out, we are tired. We are tired, so we want the respect that we deserve,” said Mary McClendon, and a certified nursing assistant at Ambassador Nursing and Rehab Facility.

Health care workers came from all over the state. They’re members of the service employees international union for health care.

Today they’re asking legislators for “hero pay”. That’s money and acknowledgment for the hard work they’ve done during the pandemic. They’re asking for $2.35 per hour for all nursing home, and in-home care employees and a one-time payment for hospital workers.

“Hero pay is definitely needed to be awarded to workers that are that have worked through this pandemic, they’ve contracted COVID at work taking care of the most vulnerable residents and patients,” said Andrea Acvedao, president of the union.

Many of these employees shared their stories, while others cheered and agreed. Denise Bonds works at Harper Hospital in Detroit. She says hero’s pay would make a big difference.

“Help our community, help us with the time that we lost when we were sick working through the pandemic,” said Bonds.

State Representative Terry Sabo (D) shared a few words in support of them today.

After the event members went knocking door-to-door on every lawmakers’ office to talk to them about hero pay.

The president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan says these employees want to be appreciated.

“We demand workers that are in the nursing home and hospital industry be recognized. They’re essential workers, they’re frontline heroes who have worked day in and day out, not taking a day off, have not weathered through COVID and we demand that they be recognized and be paid hero pay,” said Acvedao.

SEIU Healthcare says employees say many lawmakers support the idea but they’re not sure how to go about it.

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